Current socio-technical regime in the chosen regions

blur cartography close up concept
Photo by slon_dot_pics on

These pages describe the socio-technical regimes, described in more detail in the public deliverable,  in the participating countries (Austria, Finland, Switzerland) and regions of this project. This information is essential when analysing the empirical results about the user needs in these countries, when estimating the impacts and success factors of different business models, and how these models could be improved and transferred to other regions and countries. This information, gathered from the regions and their cases, is also essential when applying the results and formulating policy recommendation for different stakeholders.

All the three countries are welfare countries with a subsidised, high-quality public transport. Additionally, each country tries to support sustainability, reduce emissions and support multimodality in commuting. From an infrastructure perspective, Austria and Switzerland have a long history of using trains and therefore they have a dense railway network. In each country, most people live in growing cities while the population in the countryside remains constant (in Austria and Switzerland) or is even declining (Finland).

Geographically these countries differ from each other. While they all have some less populated areas, on average the population density is higher in Austria and Switzerland than in Finland. Moreover, people in central Europe live in the villages while in Finland the distance between the houses is larger, and single farms are surrounded by fields and forests. All the major cities have high-quality public transport systems including on-demand modes of mobility, e.g., city bikes, car sharing, and new transport services and concepts are piloted frequently. Most significant differences are related to mobility in rural areas. While Austria and Finland have reduced the public transport in rural areas, it is still of high quality in Switzerland. However, all countries are investigating and piloting new ways to improve the efficiency of the rural area public transport.

Austria has three levels of legislation and policies: the federal government level, the Bundesland (state) level, and the municipality level. While Austria is officially a federal republic by the constitution, the legislative power is in practice in the hands of the government. However, while the legislation is the same, different states have different means to fulfil the requirement of the law in acquiring and providing public services.

The main mode of public transport all over Austria is railways, supported by buses. Austrian public transport, especially in urban regions, is known for its high quality. It is clean, safe and ticket prices are sufficiently low due to the high subsidisation. Intra- and inter-regional associations, e.g., Verkehrsverbund Ost-Region (VOR), are responsible for the planning, financing, and coordination of all public transport services. Multimodality in transport is one of their main strategies.

Switzerland differs from most other western countries by its true three-tier legal structure and direct democracy. The country is a confederation with the federal government. The next level consists of 26 cantons with their own parliaments. The third tier is the city and municipality level with their decision-making authorities.

Finland currently has two-level administration: national and municipality. The development guidelines and legislation in transport come top-down from the government, while the largest cities also have their mobility development programs. The major players in the national level are the Ministry of Transports and Communications, the Finnish Transport Agency and the Finnish Transport and Safety Agency. The Ministry of Transport and Communications is in charge of implementing an intelligent transport strategy, and it is responsible for allocating sufficient resources to it within the transport administration sector.

Next: Three differing regions